What do we mean by ‘have it all?’, well, we mean the career, a great house, family, friends, the perfect balance between it all. I don’t know one woman who has a balance. In fact, everyone I know is constantly flapping around trying to get it all done.
Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article a while back titled ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’ and it was controversial. Everyone from Sheryl Sandberg to Hillary Clinton weighed in on it. Essentially Anne-Marie says she quit her job because the job didn’t make room for her life. Some women find it easier than others to juggle, but do men have those issues too? Or is it just an issue that stems from women trying to be all things to all people, carer, mother, CEO, wife, cleaner, domestic goddess etc?
As we all know, it’s the 21st century now and roles are changing rapidly. But Anne-Marie still thinks that many workplaces do not accommodate for real life. She says, “As a leader and as a manager, I have always acted on the mantra, if family comes first, work does not come second — life comes together. If you work for me, and you have a family issue, I expect you to attend to it, and I am confident, and my confidence has always been borne out, that the work will get done, and done better.”
This includes male workers, too. Because we all know that paternity leave should be longer and that when a family issue arises it’s much easier to come back to work once you’ve dealt with it. Anne-Marie says that the best companies know this. And the governments that know this can rest assured that everyone has a better work/life balance. In countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands people may earn less but have a much higher quality of living. She talks about how a woman can leave work and still be a good partner, while the same isn’t true of a man, and it really makes you think.
Anne-Marie’s talk is fascinating because it reminds us we’re all doing our best. Our biggest critic and stressor is always ourselves. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself and just loosen up a bit. Do your best, enjoy your free-time and stop striving for perfection! As Anne-Marie says “doing right by those we love will make all of us better at everything we do.”
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